Worcester, Mass. - October 23, 2012 - The Springfield College women's volleyball team was stunned by WPI on Tuesday evening as it dropped a three-set match in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play. The Engineers prevailed 25-22, 25-23, 25-14.
WPI is now 18-8 with a 4-4 mark in the NEWMAC standings and, with the victory, secured a spot in next week's NEWMAC Tournament. Springfield, which received votes in this weeks AVCA National Poll, falls to 25-6 and 6-2 against conference opponents. The Pride enters the final weekend of the season in a three-way tie with MIT and Coast Guard for second place, two game behind Wellesley.
The victory was the first for WPI in 16 tries against Springfield. In fact, in the previous 15 matches against the Engineers, the Pride had only dropped one set, which came in the team's inaugural match-up back in September of 1998.
WPI senior outside hitter Bailey Sarber had one of her best performances of the season with 14 kills and two service aces. Senior outside hitter Belinda Nwagbara finished with 11 kills with a .308 kill-percentage and five digs. Senior right-side Elyssa Dorenfeld filled the stat line with nine kills, 16 digs, six assists and a match-high .320 kill-percentage. Senior setter Alyssa Fidanza tallied 31 assists and 12 digs. Senior libero Lauren D'Angelo sparked the defense with a team-high 20 digs.
Junior outside hitter and defending NEWMAC player of the week Tessa Smolinski led Springfield with seven kills and 14 digs. Freshman Daniella Crismani chipped in with seven kills and 10 digs while Molly Giannattasio handed out 15 assists. Amy Entel led the defensive charge for the Pride with a match-best 21 kills while Mary Consol contributed four blocks to go along with six kills.
After a first set that saw seven lead changes before WPI pulled it out, the second was another see-saw battle. After Springfield pulled ahead 12-8, Sarber got the ball back for WPI with a timely kill, then led the Engineers to three straight points off her serve. The final stretch of the set was a sprint with neither team leading by more than two when Nwagbara finally pushed WPI over the top with a kill to cap off the 25-23 win.
Off Fidanza's serve, the Crimson and Gray exploded to a 7-0 lead in the third set. Springfield attempted to rally, pulling to within five at 15-10. But WPI would prove too determined, as Sarber, Nwagbara and Dorenfeld each had kills to close out the match.
The Pride will look to regroup in its regular season finale on Saturday against conference-foe Coast Guard at home beginning at 1:00 pm.